Three criteria, three durations
Friendship brings simple joys that almost everyone has access to. We choose our friends for a variety of reasons, some of which seem to be better than others in that they bring greater stability to the relationship. Let’s look at three criteria that can affect the length of a friendship.
Prestige, fame, wealth
Fame is like beauty, it diminishes with time. Basing a friendship on such changing ideas can jeopardize a friendship in the medium term. When we take someone as a friend because he or she is popular, in reality, it is not really for intrinsic qualities but rather for external elements that will serve our own interest. It is a mercantile relationship which is in itself contrary to the etymology of the word “friend” in French which means “to love”. Philia” (friendly love) for the ancient Greeks implies the acceptance of the person for his or her own qualities and not for what he or she can bring us, in which case it is a transaction. A transactional friendship is not quite a friendship worthy of the name. The relationship can end at the slightest inconvenience.
Qualities such as intelligence, erudition in a field can be attractive in a relationship. They can enhance and stimulate the spirit of the person with whom you share your friendship. The admiration that may result is not necessarily lasting in that it may imply a hierarchy in the relationship. The friend with the vaunted qualities may feel a form of superiority or even disdain towards the other person. In the long run, this posture becomes a source of suffering and may lead to separation. The problem with befriending someone whose talent you admire is that you may be attracted to other kinds of qualities and then turn away from them.
Friendships based on values or virtue are the longest lasting since they are based on something deep. When you develop an affection for a friend because you admire his or her nobility, there is less chance that the vagaries of life will take you away from him or her. It’s quite different from becoming infatuated with someone because they are smart or famous. The virtues necessary for a lasting friendship are many, but they all emanate from one cardinal value: courage (itself coming from the word heart). Courage breeds benevolence, honesty, sacrifice, a sense of justice, compassion, patience and loyalty. Thus, in order to create this possible long-lasting friendship, these virtues must be cultivated and they can be reflected in the relationships that will be envisaged thereafter